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Power regulators in tussle over Electricity Act

Published Jul 7, 2015, 8:20 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 3:23 pm IST
TS and AP ERCs have filed petitions in the High Court
Representational image
 Representational image

Hyderabad: The electricity regulatory commission at the Centre and in AP and TS are locked in a tussle over guidelines stipulated in the Electricity Act to address disputes between states. The Central ERC says that it alone can take up issues on a power plant supplying power to more than one state. The TS and AP ERCs insist that they can resolve the issues that emanate within their states.

After the CERC directive in a case related to GMR Vemagiri, the TS and AP ERCs have filed petitions in the High Court challenging the order. They fear that they may lose their power to address issues and they may be confined to ratification of tariff orders.

There were 86 cases before the APERC at the time of bifurcation. Since there was no clarity, the AP and TS commissions have taken up which have bearing on their states individually. AP says it should try all the 86 cases. TS opposes this, stating that it has equal powers as an independent state.

GMR Vemagiri, one of the first generation gas-based units, has sought the intervention of the CERC on a complaint that it suffered losses and both the Telugu states have to pay for it.

GMR entered into PPA with the erstwhile AP State Electricity Board on March 31, 1997 according to which the project cost was to be recovered through guaranteed operation of the plant at 80 per cent plant load factor. The energy charge was linked to the specified station heat rate and the same was passed through to the discoms.

GMR stated that after passing of the AP Re-organisation Act the Vemagiri unit had become an inter-state generating station. Hence, any dispute on tariff for a generating station having a composite scheme for generation and sale of electricity in more than one state has to be decided by Central commission under Section 79(1)(f) of the 2003 Act.
This was accepted to by CERC which asked both AP and Telangana utilities to file their responses. But AP contends that GMR Vemagiri is located in the state and, as per the Reorganisation Act, it alone can decide on the compensation issue. Telangana says as per the PPA, power is supplied to Telangana and it can also have a say on the dispute.
Since the PPAs were scrapped, there is no way that Telangana could intervene, according to AP. On the other hand, the CERC said that since GMR Vemagiri supplies power to both AP and Telangana, any dispute shall be dealt only by it (CERC) and not the ERCs of two states.

Location: Telangana